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Get started with QuickBooks Online

SOLVEDby QuickBooks239Updated January 05, 2024

Ready to get started with QuickBooks Online? This walkthrough guides you through the process.

In this article, you'll learn how to:

Ready to get started? Check out the video below for an introduction to QuickBooks Online.



Firstly, let’s get to know your dashboard.

Your dashboard serves as a homepage for all your QuickBooks activities. If you're looking for a quick snapshot of your business's health, this is where to find it.

The dashboard displays basic information on the current status of your income and expenses. These values change in real-time, displaying an updated overview of your company's finances.

Learn more about your QuickBooks Online dashboard.

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Personalize your company info and turn on product features

Go to Settings ⚙️, then Account and settings to start adding information about your business, and turning on the features that may be useful to your business. Some of the things you can adjust include: company information, billing information, product language, and sales forms. 

Learn more about Account and settings in QuickBooks Online.

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Connect your bank and credit card accounts

The bank feed is one of QuickBooks Online's most helpful and time-saving features.

When you link your bank and credit card accounts to QuickBooks Online, recent transactions are automatically downloaded and categorized for your review. You'll have up-to-date insight into your sales and expenses with virtually no data entry required. 

If you need to add older information, you can upload historical transactions manually. This is required if you want to include information that existed prior to linking your bank and credit card accounts with QuickBooks Online.

To link a bank or credit card account:

  1. Go to Transactions, then select Bank transactions (Take me there) and select Connect account.
  2. Select your bank and sign in to your account.

Follow our guide to connect your bank and credit card accounts to QuickBooks Online for step-by-step instructions. 

Note: If your bank is not yet compatible with QuickBooks Online, you can also manually import your bank transactions. Once you’ve connected your bank or credit card account, you can set up bank rules to help speed up the categorization process.

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Import your data

If you have existing lists from another QuickBooks company or accounting software, such as those for suppliers, customers, inventory, or a chart of accounts, then you can import them into your QuickBooks Online file.

Follow our guide to moving lists to QuickBooks Online or importing data from other software for step-by-step instructions.

You can add new customers, suppliers, and products and services quickly and easily in QuickBooks Online. Follow the relevant support guides on how to do this:

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Set up sales tax

It's easy to add sales tax to your invoices and receipts and track how much you owe. Follow the steps below to set up sales tax for the first time:

Note: The terminology for sales tax may differ depending on which country you are based in.

  1. Go to Taxes and select Sales tax (Take me there).
  2. Select Set up sales tax.
  3. Select a province/territory.
  4. Select Start of tax period.
  5. Select the Filing frequency for your sales tax.
  6. Select your Reporting method.
  7. Tip: If in doubt, ‌consult your accountant
  8. Enter your Registration number or GST/HST number. Note: This field name will vary depending on the province selected.
  9. Select Next.
  10. Follow the prompts to finish the setup.

Learn more about how to set up and use sales tax in QuickBooks Online.

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Enable and receive payments

If you're a Canadian merchant, you might want to consider QuickBooks Payments.

QuickBooks Payments is an optional subscription feature that allows customers to pay you online using trusted payment methods. When you receive a payment, QuickBooks auto-matches deposits and invoices as they flow through the system, making it easier to keep track of your income.

You can enable Payments from your QuickBooks Online dashboard, the Sales overview page, or even while creating an invoice.

Read our QuickBooks Payments overview to learn about signing up and getting started.



Turn on payroll and add employees

QuickBooks Payroll is an optional subscription feature that enables you to run payroll and pay employees through direct deposit or printed cheques. It also helps you calculate tax rates and assists with tax forms and tax filing.

Enable payroll

To enable payroll, go to Employees and select Set up payroll. Choose the subscription level that's right for you, then fill in the requested details to get started running your first payroll.

Review our payroll setup checklist to ensure you have everything you need to get started, or view the video below on setting up payroll for step-by-step instructions.

Add employees

If your company has employees, you can add employee data that allows QuickBooks to run payroll, create paycheques, handle labour-related taxes, track time, and more.

Note: You can't upload employee information from another application, but if you've transferred your company file from QuickBooks Desktop, your employee list transfers with it.

To add an employee, go to Payroll, select Employees (Take me there), then select Add an employee.

Complete the form and select Save. Repeat until you have added all of your employees.



Customize and send invoices

Invoices are an important part of running your business. Customizing your invoice is a simple, yet effective way to enhance your business communications.

Customize your invoice template

To customize the look of your invoice, select Customize from the bottom of the invoice. You can edit the existing template, or create a completely new style.

Learn more about customizing invoices in QuickBooks Online.

Create an invoice

  1. Select + New, then select Invoice.
  2. From the Customer ▼ dropdown, select a customer.
  3. Review the Invoice date, Due date, and Terms and change them if you need to.
  4. From the Product/Service column, select a product or service. You can also select + Add new to create a new product or service right from the invoice.
  5. Enter Qty, Rate, and Amount if needed.
  6. Select an applicable Sales Tax option.
  7. When you’re done, select Save.
    Note: There are several options for saving or sharing the invoice. You may select the appropriate one.

Get more info on how to create invoices in QuickBooks Online.

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Add and manage users

Adding users allows them the opportunity to help you manage your books, depending on the level of access you grant.

QuickBooks Online has five different user types:

  • Primary administrator
  • Company administrator
  • Standard users
  • Reports only users
  • Time tracking only users

Select Settings ⚙️, then Manage users. By default, the person who set up the QuickBooks Online account will be the Primary administrator, but you can assign that role to another user if you prefer.

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In most cases, you can customize both the user and their level of access. You can change or adjust the access you grant your users at any time.

You also have access to the Audit log from Settings ⚙️. This feature is helpful when you want to see the actions taken by a specific user within QuickBooks Online. To view specific user actions:

  1. Go to Settings ⚙️ and select Manage users.
  2. Find the user whose activity you wish to see.
  3. Under the Action column, select View user activity from the dropdown menu.

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Run and customize reports

QuickBooks is a home to dozens of financial reports that provide you with a snapshot of your business. Within the Reports tab, you can run basic financial reports or apply filters which will customize reports, helping you to focus on specific details. Find out more on customize reports in QuickBooks Online. 

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Where to get more help

For access to user guides, video tutorials, and more visit your local QuickBooks Online learn and support page.

Want to speak to like-minded business owners? Visit your local QuickBooks community and get answers to questions, talk shop, and get inspired. 

Looking for quick answers ‌while you work in QuickBooks Online? You can chat with our Digital Assistant 24/7. Just login to your account, select Help (?) and enter your question.

Alternatively, need to speak to an expert? Find out more about how and when you can contact QuickBooks Online support.

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